Why They’re Talking About Andrew Luck And Johnny Unitas In The Same Breath

Andrew Luck has been named the winner of the 2011 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually to the top graduating quarterback in college.

Luck will receive the award during a ceremony in Baltimore on Dec. 9, one day before he goes to New York to participate in the 2011 Heisman Trophy award ceremony.

The Unitas Golden Arm Award is named after the Hall of Famer who is regarded as one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks.

The award is presented by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc., whose president is John C. Unitas, Jr.; and Transamerica, a leading provider of innovative business and personal financial services.

The list of 2011 candidates started with 25 quarterbacks, was reduced to ten and then to a final five: Luck, Robert Griffin III (Baylor), Landry Jones (Oklahoma), Kellen Moore (Boise State) and Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State).

Previous winners of the Golden Arm Award include Colt McCoy (Texas, 2009), Matt Ryan (Boston College, 2007), Brady Quinn (Notre Dame, 2006), Eli Manning (Ole Miss, 2003),  Carson Palmer (USC, 2002) and Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997).

“Andrew personifies everything that my father stood for. He is an outstanding quarterback and an outstanding individual, a leader both on and off the field,” John C. Unitas, Jr. (pictured) said in a statement.

Luck passed for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns for a 167.5 passer rating in leading No. 4 ranked Stanford to an 11-1 record. He ranks first on Stanford’s all-time career list for touchdown passes (80), total offense (10,043 yards), and completion percentage (.664).

In addition, Luck carries a 3.48 cumulative grade point average and was selected to the Pac-12 Conference’s All-Academic First Team.

Luck is one of five candidates for the 2011 Heisman Trophy, along with Griffin III, Trent Richardson, Monty Ball and Tyrann Mathieu.

According to the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, candidates for the Golden Arm Award “must be completing their college eligibility or be a fourth-year junior, on schedule to graduate with his class. Candidates are judged upon character, citizenship, scholastic achievement, leadership qualities and athletic accomplishments.”

Johnny Unitas played his collegiate career at the University of Louisville before joining the Baltimore Colts in 1958. His NFL career passing figures include 2,830 pass completions for 40,239 yards and 290 touchdowns.

Additional sponsors for the Golden Arm Award include Athlon Sports, The Babe Ruth and Sports Legends Museum, Baltimore Sun Media Group, Century Engineering, Comcast, Dunbar Armored, Geico, Intercontinental Harbor Court and Wilson Sporting Goods.

PHOTOS: Andrew Luck: Bob Stanton/Icon Smi; John Unitas Jr.: Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation

Because you want to see it first!

Like and follow The Big Lead today!